In Nevada, 40,000 people are stepping up to the cutting edge of precision medicine. They are getting their DNA deciphered by the testing company Helix. The idea of the Healthy Nevada project is to link genetic and medical data with information about the environment to get a clearer picture of all the factors that influence health. The free tests are going like hot cakes.
When the Healthy...
Direct-to-consumer genetic testing first came on the market about a decade ago, but I resisted the temptation to see what health information is hidden in my DNA — until now.
As a molecular biology writer, I’ve been skeptical that the field of genetics is mature enough to accurately predict health (see related article). What finally motivated me to send away my DNA in the mail was the...
The dwindling dusky
In the marshes around America’s spaceport, Kennedy Space Center, live the last few specimens of a bird that may be closer to extinction than even the much-mourned whooping crane. While the whooper might make a gradual comeback if protected and left alone, the dusky seaside sparrow is as good as dead unless man steps in to lend an active hand. — Science News, May...
Somewhere in the wetlands of South Carolina, a buzzing fly alights on a rosy-pink surface. As the fly explores the strange scenery, it unknowingly brushes a small hair sticking up like a slender sword. Strolling along, the fly accidentally grazes another hair. Suddenly, the pink surface closes in from both sides, snapping shut like a pair of ravenous jaws. The blur of movement lasts only a...
Before visiting my parents for spring break, I thought, “Gee, wouldn’t it be fun if I bought them those genetic ancestry kits?” But I never got around to making that purchase, and after reading Tina Hesman Saey’s cover story in this issue, I realize I might have inadvertently made a wise decision.05/16/2018 - 07:15 Science & Society, Genetics
Consumer DNA test kits have become wildly popular, with millions of people hoping for...
Letters to the Editor
Jazzed by Jupiter05/16/2018 - 07:00 Animals, Planetary Science, Microbiology
Polar cyclones, a surprisingly deep atmosphere and a spin reminiscent of solid masses are among the latest discoveries the Juno spacecraft has made as it orbits Jupiter, Christopher Crockett reported in “4 surprising things we just learned about Jupiter” (SN: 3/31/18, p. 10).
The findings astonished readers on Reddit.
“Jupiter is one of those things [that]...
The Science Life
What do land mines and tuberculosis have in common? Both kill people in developing countries — and both can be sniffed out by rodents that grow up to 3 feet, head to tail.
Since 2000, the international nonprofit APOPO has partnered with Tanzania’s Sokoine University of Agriculture to train African giant pouched rats (Cricetomys ansorgei) to pick up the scent of TNT in land mines. By 2016...
With a mortar and pestle, Christy Till blends together the makings of a distant planet. In her geology lab at Arizona State University in Tempe, Till carefully measures out powdered minerals, tips them into a metal capsule and bakes them in a high-pressure furnace that can reach close to 35,000 times Earth’s atmospheric pressure and 2,000° Celsius.
In this interplanetary test kitchen,...
As Richard Feynman once said, “a man cannot live beyond the grave,” and so surely Feynman could not speak from the grave, either. Except that actually, he did.
For years after his death in 1988, books appeared with collections of Feynman’s articles, talks and other miscellaneous writings. Together with his two autobiographical books and his famous lectures on physics, those works offer...
Astronomers are going gaga over Gaia.
The April 25 release of data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft, which cataloged nearly 1.7 billion stars, has kicked off a scientific spree, with multiple papers published online in the last two weeks at arXiv.org.
Charting stars in the Milky Way and beyond, Gaia surveys the entire sky. The spacecraft can measure stars’ motions...